Why Can’t You Play PS3 Games on PS4? Everything You Need

why can't you play ps3 games on ps4
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Can you play PS3 games on the PS4 console? The short answer is no; the PlayStation 4 does not support PlayStation 3 games. In other words, inserting a PlayStation 3 disc into a PlayStation 4 will not work. You also can’t download digital PS3 games from the PlayStation Store to your PlayStation 4. This applies to all PS4 editions, including the slim PS4 and PS4 Pro.

The reason for this, as with most cases of backward compatibility, is that the PS3 and PS4 have different system architectures. Because PlayStation 4 consoles lack the hardware of the PS3, they cannot run older games natively. And Sony decided it wasn’t worth it to include a software emulator in the PS4 to support older PS3 titles. The question, however, is: why?

Well, let’s find out…

What Is PS4 Backward Compatibility?

Backward compatibility refers to the ability of new technology to run older software. In the case of the PlayStation 4, it refers to the ability to play PS1, PS2, and PS3 games on the system, eliminating the need to dig out old game consoles to play old favorites.

Previously, the PS2 was backward compatible with the original PlayStation 1, and the PlayStation 3’s launch version allowed you to play PlayStation 2 games. However, the answer to PS4 backward compatibility is a little more complicated.

Console Backwards Compatibility

Any good console will support backward compatibility. Any manufacturer who goes to the trouble of incorporating backward compatibility into their console demonstrates a concern for the legacy of older video games. Microsoft is a good example; the vast majority of Xbox 360 games can be played on the newer Xbox Series X/S, despite the fact that the Xbox 360 is not one but two generations older.

Sony, on the other hand, appears to have previously been overly ambitious and shortsighted. While the PlayStation 4 is not directly backward compatible with previous-generation consoles, this was not always the case. In the past, the PlayStation 2 could run PS1 games, and certain PlayStation 3 models were also backward compatible with the PS2.

Sony has a somewhat tainted reputation when it comes to backward compatibility. Since the release of the PS4, the company has completely ignored it because it is not profitable enough for them. When asked about the possibility of backward compatibility back in 2015, Jim Ryan, the now-CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, famously stated in an interview:

“When we’ve dabbled with backward compatibility, I can say it’s one of those features that is frequently requested but rarely used, and I was recently at a Gran Turismo event where they had PS1, PS2, PS3, and PS4 games, and the PS1 and PS2 games looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”

Why Can’t You Play PS3 Games on PS4

Why Can’t I Play PS3 Games/Discs On My PS4?

The PlayStation 4 was built and developed using the x86 architecture, which is also used to develop desktop processors. The cell architecture, on the other hand, was responsible for developing the PS3. The architecture of the PS4 is completely different from that of the PS3.

Sony only used the cell architecture for the PS3, which game developers said was difficult to develop for. Making it compatible with the PS4’s x86 architecture would be nearly impossible.

The PS3’s unique architecture was powerful and well ahead of its time, but it was difficult to code.

Because of the structure’s complexity and the difficulty in developing games for the PS3, Sony abandoned the cell architecture in favor of the x86 architecture for the PS4.

Sony, unlike Microsoft, had to create a PS3 emulator and integrate it into the PS4 system to ensure backward compatibility, but Sony has no plans for backward compatibility.

As a result, most people must rely on the PlayStation Now service to play their favorite PS3 and PS2 games on the PS4. Inserting the PS3 disc into the PS4 will result in nothing happening.

What Happens if You Put a PS3 Disc Into a PS4?

If you try to insert a PS3 disc into your PS4, it will do almost nothing. The reason for this is actually quite simple: the PS3 and PS4 have different system architectures, making them incompatible with one another.

Because the PS4 lacks the necessary hardware, there is no direct way to play PS3 games on it. Furthermore, Sony determined that it was not worthwhile to create an emulator to support the older titles. To put it simply, physical PS3 media will not work on the PS4.

Certain hardware and software requirements are considered when developing a game for a platform. Unlike the PS3, which used a specialized CPU (Cell) and required knowledge of new technologies and hardware, the PS4 was much simpler to use because it was based on the x86 architecture (the same as your PC). This meant that developers could start using the system right away.

Because the PS3’s architecture was so difficult, many programmers were initially hesitant to work on the console. To be clear, the PlayStation 3 was far ahead of its time, and in many ways, outperformed the Xbox 360. However, Microsoft had an advantage due to the relative ease of developing games for their console.

Sony appears to have learned from their previous mistakes by incorporating the more popular x86 architecture into their latest consoles; however, they did so at the expense of backward compatibility, which they were well aware of.

Why Can’t You Play PS3 Games on PS4: Simple Guide to Play Older Games on PS4?

While physical media is no longer available, there are still some options for playing a PS3 game on your PS4. Remember that while these may not be the most elegant solutions, they may be able to alleviate your desperation.

#1. PlayStation Plus/PlayStation Now

As previously stated, Sony was well aware of the drawbacks of not including backward compatibility in their consoles, which led to the creation of the PlayStation Now cloud-gaming service. PlayStation Now offers over 700 games from the entire PlayStation library, including popular PS3 games. Because it is a streaming service, not all of your favorites may be available.

The real problem is that PS Now no longer exists. Sony rebranded its subscription services last year, combining PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus while keeping the former’s function but not its name. To enjoy PS3 game streaming, you must now purchase PlayStation Plus Premium, which includes a slew of other perks in addition to PS Now.

The games can be downloaded and played directly from the servers using a genuine PS3, and the footage will be streamed to your console as a video. The game cannot be downloaded to your own console because it would require dedicated backward compatibility hardware, which the PS4 lacks.

PlayStation Premium costs $17.99 per month, $49.99 per quarter, or $119.99 annually.

#2. Cross-Generational Offers

Some games that span multiple generations are sold together in what is known as a “cross-generation package,” which allows you to play the game on both generations without paying extra. Similarly, many titles previously released on other consoles offered inexpensive PS4 upgrades.

For a limited time, Sony, for example, allowed PS4 owners to upgrade their PS3 games to PS4 versions for $9.99. This entailed logging into your account and visiting the PS4 PlayStation Store, where the game you had just purchased would be available for download.

A code is required to upgrade your game on digital copies. Some games with this feature include Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition.

It is worth noting that the time period for this has passed, but accounts that have previously used it can still use it. Check your physical copies or digital codes for any mention of a next-generation upgrade, which will allow you to get the PS4 version of that PS3 game for free.

#3. Remakes and Remastering

Because of the abundance of remasters and remakes available for video games these days, it is now possible to play games that were originally released for older systems on modern gaming consoles. While these are not always completely identical to the original game, they are usually better because of new features and improved graphics.

While we’re on the subject of remasters, not only are PS3 games remastered, but you can also play remakes of games from the original PlayStation 1. In fact, remasters of certain games have been more successful than the originals themselves. Mafia: Definitive Edition, Final Fantasy X, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered are among the titles included.

If everything else fails, this is your final option. While remakes are rare, most popular PS3 titles have PS4 remasters, with The Last of Us being a notable example.

How to Use PlayStation Plus on Your PS4 to Play PS2 and PS3 Games

Because the PlayStation 4 disc drive and hardware cannot read PS2 or PS3 discs, the simplest way to access your favorite old games is to subscribe to PlayStation Plus Extra or Deluxe. The Extra tier grants access to the Game Catalog, which contains some PlayStation 4 titles. The Deluxe tier also includes the Classics Catalog, which contains older titles.

How To Download PS1, PS2 or PS3 Games to the PS4

Some PS1, PS2, and PS3 games can be purchased through the PlayStation Store and played on your PS4. There aren’t many available through the service, but it’s worth a look. Here’s how to get them.

  • Select the PlayStation Store icon on your PlayStation 4 and press the X button on your controller.
  • Scroll up to Search and press the X button.
  • Enter the title of the game you want to find.
  • Scroll through the results by tapping right.
  • With the X, select the game.
  • To purchase the game, select Add to Cart.

Why Am I Unable To Play PS1 Games on My PS4?

The PS4 is not backward compatible with PS3 games, or even PS2 or PS1 games. Many people find it difficult to accept. While PC emulators exist for every previous PlayStation, it’s not the same as connecting to the real thing.

What is the purpose of a PS3 jailbreak?

Jailbreaking enables you to install mods, cheats, third-party applications, and games that would otherwise be inaccessible on the PS3. Remember that jailbreaking your PS3 is against Sony’s terms of service, so you won’t be able to go online while the jailbreak is active without risking a permanent ban.

What is the purpose of jailbreaking a PS4?

In general, you will be restricted when attempting to download and install specific games on PS4. Jailbreaking your PS4 removes these limitations and allows you to install games from USB drives. You can also transfer your games to the PS4 HDD or an external HDD 3.0.

Is the PlayStation 5 backward compatible with the PlayStation 4?

Yes, PS4 games can be played on the PS5, indicating that the PS5 is backward compatible with the PS4. This means you can download PS4 games purchased from the PlayStation Store and play them on the PS5.

Why did Sony discontinue backward compatibility?

Sony has a long history of issues with backward compatibility. After the PlayStation 3 was able to play games from previous PlayStation eras, the PlayStation 4 was unable to due to significant hardware differences.

Is it possible to use my phone as a PS4 controller?

You can use PS Remote Play to show the PlayStation®5 or PlayStation®4 screen on your mobile device. Control your PS5 or PS4 with your mobile device’s on-screen controller.

Can the PS4 read PS1 discs?

The PS4 will never be able to browse or play PS1 CD-ROMs or discs. The PS4 will only be able to play PS1 games via the PS Now subscription, which includes a library of standard games to stream and download. PS2 games work on the PS4, but only as PS2 classics.

Is it possible to put a PS3 disc in a PS5?

No, using a PS3 game disc on the PS5 will not work. Is a PS Plus Premium membership required? Yes, this subscription tier is required to play PS3 games on your PS5. You will be able to stream the game online using your console, but you will not be able to download it.


I hope this piece answered the question, “Why Can’t You Play PS3 Games on PS4?”

To summarize, there is no direct way to play physical PS3 games on a PS4. You’ll need to keep your PS3 nearby for this to work. If you want to play these games digitally, you can do so remotely through PlayStation Now, also known as PS Plus Premium.

If the developer allows it, you can try to upgrade older games to PS4 editions, and you can also play remasters of your old PS3 games natively on the new console.

Why Can’t You Play PS3 Games on PS4: References

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